MA in Arts and Culture: History of Architecture and Town Planning


Program Description

University of Groningen

The Master's track History of Architecture and Town Planning explores the evolution of cities, villages and park- and landscape design in Europe within the changing global setting.

Cities, buildings, parks, and landscapes define the setting of our everyday life. Some are fascinating works of art, and no other man-made artifacts document the evolution of social relations, economic trends, technological innovations, philosophical views on man and nature, politics and culture more eloquently than architecture and urbanism. Cities and buildings impact our everyday lives. They define where and how we live, how far we have to travel to reach our working places, our daily rhythms of our movements, the things we see when we are on our way. Their impact on health is self-evident – urban planners gave us our sewage systems, architects decent public housing and healthcare buildings. This master track provides students a rich and varied introduction in the history and theory of architecture and urban planning. Since healthcare architecture requires a thorough understanding of the history and theory of architecture, and the world of healthy cities can only be analyzed against the background of urbanism, the Expertise Centre Architecture, Urbanism and Health is embedded in a classical approach of architectural and urban history and theory. It allows students to specialize in classical history and theory, the health impacts of architecture and urbanism, or a mixture.

Why study this program in Groningen?

The course positions the evolution of the European city (including the post-socialist cities in Central and Eastern Europe) as intimately linked with trends and tendencies at the global scale. The input of the Thomassen a Thuessink Chair results in a clear focus on the health effects of the built environment and the phenomena summarized in the healthy cities concept (ranging from yesterday's hygienic measures to tomorrows urban guerilla gardening campaigns).

  • In Groningen, the history and theory of architecture and urbanism are taught within the context of social, economic, cultural and philosophical phenomena and geared towards the active participation of the students in the discourse on global urban tendencies. Embedded in a classical art historical context, this so-called 'Groningen school' expands the envelope of its scientific explorations and targets planners and policymakers as well as historians and art historians.
  • Past, present, and future are seen as a continuum, the historian's expertise and research tools as constituting a methodology that is applicable throughout this continuum, its essence being the conviction that man-made changes should always be attributed to those responsible for them.
  • Groningen University promotes cooperation with universities and institutions in the Netherlands and abroad: the Delft University of Technology, Gent University of Technology, Berlin University of Technology, ETH Zürich, Erasmus University Rotterdam, International New Town Institute and others.
  • The Master's track offers possibilities for students to take part in the courses at other universities
  • The city of Groningen is well-known for being the liveliest student city in the Netherlands, with an ever-growing international student population.


Year 1

Starting with the European city, this Master's track provides students with the expertise and critical attitude to study both historical and contemporary tendencies in today's global setting. Historians, environmental scientists, architects, urban planners, medical professionals, and policymakers may benefit from the courses offered in this track.

The Master's track has two distinct components. The first semester is organized around a number of courses that foster the intense cooperation between students (historians, architects, environmental scientists, etc.) and staff. The second semester urges the students to develop their personal skills, culminating in individual research projects. Here the personal preferences, skills, and ambitions of the students are embedded in a custom made program that includes interaction with a range of different institutions (architectural firms, urban planning boards, healthcare institutions, etc.).


  • Architectural History: Origins of the Healthy City (10 EC)
  • Architect. History: Research & Excursion (10 EC)
  • Architectural History: Global Tendencies vs. Local Identities (5 EC)
  • Architectural History.: Typological Repertory (5 EC)
  • Architectural History: Internship / individual (research) project (10 EC)
  • Master Thesis Architectural History (20 EC)


'Origins of the Healthy City' examines the relation between healthy cities and urban policies. In 'Research Laboratory and Excursion' students will do research into a specific European city (Prague, Berlin) and present this during an excursion. 'Global Tendencies vs. Local Identities' studies the effects on city design, and the tension between global trends and local identities. 'Typological Exercises' presents a critical overview of thoughts on function (type) and thoughts on form and style.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is recommended

Students are encouraged to spend at least one half-semester abroad to complement their personal curriculum; especially the 2d semester offers ample opportunities to opt for study, research or internship at a foreign university or institution, thanks to our international network en exchange contracts (Germany, Belgium, Colombia, Poland, Hungary etc). Recently we started working together with International New Town Institute, offering our students the exchange projects in China and Kenia.

Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirements More information
language test Additional requirements English: A VWO diploma or a subject certificate for VWO English (mark 6 or higher), minimum requirement of TOEFL iBT 90 (with a minimum of 21 on all items), or IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 on all items). Language Centre English Test (LCET) level C1 (B2 for no more than two components). If you have a VWO diploma a language test is not required.
previous education Students and professionals with a background in architectural and urban history, urban studies, architecture, urbanism, urban design, public health, urban health, etc.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students

15 January 2020

15 August 2020

01 February 2020

01 September 2020

EU/EEA students

15 October 2019

01 May 2020

15 October 2020

01 February 2020

01 September 2020

01 February 2021

non-EU/EEA students

15 October 2019

01 May 2020

15 October 2020

01 February 2020

01 September 2020

01 February 2021

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 2083 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 12500 full-time
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time

Job prospects

After completing this track, you can pursue a career in research, or work in the field of language teaching and educational publishing projects. Our MA Applied Linguistics prepares current and future language teachers to be innovators in the profession. You are also equipped to take positions that deal with issues of language policy.

Job examples

The master's track opens a myriad of career opportunities, in the Netherlands and abroad, as has been proved over the years. For instance:

  • jobs in the field of urban history and consultancy for municipal agencies and scientific institutions
  • jobs for private or public architectural and urban platforms
  • jobs in the field of journalism and public relations
  • the master prepares students for a scientific career
  • jobs as advisors for healthcare institutions


Research in Applied Linguistics focuses on the process of learning and using a second language. It covers various fields of study because learning and using a second language can be approached from many different angles, including cognition, psychology, social interaction, language teaching, and culture.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
Groningen , Leeuwarden + 1 More Less